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What Now for Andy Carroll?

“He was the best person we could have got in to play the number nine shirt.”

That’s how Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish described the £35m capture of Andy Carroll shortly after the striker’s move to Anfield last year.

It was a deadline day transfer that surprised many. Despite an impressive start to his Premier League career with Newcastle, at only 22 a hugely inexperienced quantity became the most expensive British footballer in history overnight.

Carroll’s maiden return to the ground where he was once idolised was one of torture for the former Magpies talisman. Viewed by many on Tyneside as betraying his hometown club, the striker was subjected to torrid abuse throughout Liverpool’s 2-0 defeat on Sunday. An afternoon which epitomised the difficulties he’s faced during his short Reds career.

Carroll has endured a difficult and frustrating first year at Anfield, with Dalglish’s bold attribution of his number nine — one that he will look at with great embarrassment. Despite Dalglish’s backing at the time it was a transfer labeled as potential suicide, and 14 months on it is looking ever more just that.

But where has it all gone wrong for Carroll? He finished Newcastle’s top scorer in the Championship in his first full season with 17 league goals (19 in all competitions), and continued his form by netting a hat-trick against Aston Villa in the club’s first home game following promotion. His ability to find the net didn’t waiver, with the Gateshead-born striker scoring 11 Premier League goals last season before his move to the north-west.

After his arrival on Merseyside it has been a journey of unfamiliarity for Carroll. A severe dip in form has seen him score only eight times in 48 appearances in all competitions for the Reds — a stark contrast to the form that saw him touted as the next Alan Shearer only eighteen months ago.

Sunday’s return to St James’ Park brought ridicule and despair for Carroll. After a relatively bright start he was booked for a clear dive after rounding Magpies’ ‘keeper Tim Krul when it looked certain he would score. Then after being substituted in the late stages, to ironic cheers from the home faithful, he aimed a tirade of verbal abuse towards Dalglish as he stormed straight down the tunnel. A potentially scarring day that Carroll will see as the worst of his career, and one that brought further suggestions that ‘King Kenny’s’ crown is undoubtedly slipping.

Although Carroll received much of the attention following another disappointing afternoon for Liverpool, that masks the true severity of the club’s problems. Dalglish is seeing the consequences of vastly over-spending on a core of players who aren’t of the quality to meet the club’s aims – Champions League qualification. Something he will, of course, never admit, but unfortunately for him a harsh fact.

With the team’s present struggles it looks increasingly difficult for Carroll to recapture the form that was the catalyst for his record-breaking transfer. Some believe this will be the striker’s only full season at Liverpool, with it unlikely that the club will fight to keep him should a bidder come forward this summer. For all their problems the football club aren’t stupid and know if an offer is made it may be time to cut their losses and move forward.

There was a rumour a cut-price £10m return to Newcastle was a possibility in January, but with the arrival of Papiss Cisse it was a suggestion surely shrouded in mischief. And with the Magpies new number nine netting more league goals in seven games (7) to that of Carroll’s last 35 appearances (5), a St James’ Park return now seems even more unlikely.

Following Sunday’s nightmare afternoon on Tyneside, focusing on football and rebuilding his career must be Carroll’s priority. He has youth to his advantage and has proven that he is a threat to even the best Premier League defences when at the peak of his powers. That’s what potential suitors will gamble on if he becomes available, no matter of how embarrassingly unsuccessful he has been at Anfield.

It’s his responsibility to recapture the form that saw him described as one of England’s best young strikers. Otherwise he is in danger, rightly or wrongly, of being dubbed one of the greatest flops of all time.

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  1. IanCransonsKnees

    April 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    He’ll end up at Stoke hopefully. He’d have to cut his bloody hair first though.

  2. Frill Artist

    April 4, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Carroll is nothing but an arrogant, stuck up prick who thinks the club revolves around him. Anyone that defends Carroll is obviously delusional. He’s living the dream. Hundreds of younger players would kill to be in his position but no, what does he do, insult the coach and basically the club. He’s made it clear that he doesn’t want to play anymore and if Daglish plays him again, he’ll lose a ton of respect among a lot of Liverpool fans (it’s not as if he’s not already losing it) and among the players who will feel he’s giving out preferential treatment.

    • Spenser

      April 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      As a huge Liverpool fan, I can only marginally agree with you. Carroll was so obviously an impulse buy by the club, when honestly we would have been better off just buying Suarez and waiting until the summer (though that money wasn’t spent well anyways).

      Liverpool and Newcastle have really ruined the poor lad’s life. Liverpool tapped him up, Newcastle greedily took the money, and now a 22-year-old can’t even show his face at the stadium that he grew up going to and always dreamed of playing in. He did not want to leave, but the two clubs basically conspired against him. I for one feel so awful for him, to be at St James with my family and friends in the crowd (probably in black and white) while the entire home crowd boos me? That would kill me.

      • John R

        April 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm

        he put in a transfer request. yet he didnt want to leave?

  3. daS

    April 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    as soon as i read “carroll to liverpool for 35m” i knew then and there liverpool were headed for the pooper. and then my predictions became more realistic once kenny bought that overrated british crap…
    im almost ashamed to be a liverpool fan now… we need an overhaul, and quick.

  4. Kit Walker

    April 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    This whole Carroll and Torres not living up to their huge transfer fees is not all of their making.
    Carroll wants the ball in the air, Torress wants the ball on the ground.
    Frankly, Gerrard and Lampard as the professionals and team leaders that they are should adapt for their strikers NOT the other way around.

  5. Jay

    April 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I know why it didn’t happen and he would have taken all the blame for Torres handing in a transfer request but it would have been better to just give Roy Hodgson until the end of the season. They were sitting down near the bottom of the table when he got sacked but that team was never going to get relegated. Torres was always leaving and Suarez was coming in even under Hodgson. Kenny did a good job but he should have never got the job permanently and that is what the owners were basically forced into after he did alright. It would have been great to see what manager the owners would have chosen to bring in during the summer. Carroll, Downing, Adam, and Henderson are all average and they overpaid for them. Getting rid of players like Aquilani, Cole, and and Miereles makes it even worse. Teams like Birmingham and Portsmouth have won the Carling Cup and FA Cup in recent years. Lots of mid-table teams have progressed well in them. Champions League qualification is where all the money is and with Kenny in charge and the current group of players it is not going to be easy to get back in there. With Spurs and City there is strong competition compared to before.

    • Joe H

      April 4, 2012 at 3:45 am

      Personally I think the only reason that Kenny did well when he replaced Roy was because he brought a reputation into the dressing room and changed the players attitude. Unfortunately for him, reputation can’t carry a team in the long term and it’s starting to show.

  6. PaulfromMiami

    April 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    “Andy doesn’t play like Liverpool plays, and Liverpool will not adapt to his kind of play. And that’s assuming Liverpool is playing in top form, which they simply haven’t in a long time.”

    THat’s the problem. Adapting to Andy Carroll’s style of play will not get you a Champions League berth. If so, then Stoke would have been in the CHampions league by now.
    Andy Caroll:
    -Very good in the air
    -No first touch
    -Not very good on the ball
    -No pace
    -Hold up play is strong
    -Passing is not strong
    -No skills or technique of a modern striker

    Somehow Comoli and Kenny deemed a him to be a 35 million pound striker:
    Cheaper players that are miles better and would have cost less than Carroll:
    -Bendtner(yes even he is better than carroll)
    -Kun Aguero

    See where i’m going with this, Most of the PL’s teams’starting forward players are better than Carroll.

    • PaulfromMiami

      April 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      *hold up play is not very strong

    • Guy

      April 3, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Nice one, Paul. 🙂

    • Clampdown

      April 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

      You forgot Crouch.

      • Yespage

        April 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

        Of course Crouch is older, but Crouch can dribble the ball, not an expert, but he can dribble. Carroll simply can’t handle the ball at all. Carroll could develop into a 35 million pound player, but he simply is no where near that level yet, and the selling price itself has done nothing but put a ridiculous set of expectations upon him.

  7. The Gaffer

    April 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I’m on Andy Carroll’s side on this one. He’s not getting the service he needs from his Liverpool teammates. Look at the Newcastle game again and count how many wayward passes or poor crosses were sent in to him. If he had received some decent deliveries from his teammates, he could have scored.

    The same goes for many of the matches Liverpool has played this season when Carroll has played. Yes, he’s going through a slump, but his fellow players are not helping him at all.

    The Gaffer

    • PaulfromMiami

      April 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      are you a Liverpool fan? if so, the best thing would be for pool to cut their losses and move on.

      • The Gaffer

        April 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm

        I don’t disagree with you. but I don’t think it’s all Carroll’s fault. You know me, I’m a Swansea City supporter!

        The Gaffer

    • Clampdown

      April 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

      When he has had the service he hasn’t converted. He’s been woeful. We’ve seen him outmuscled over and over again, beaten in the air by Wes Brown!. He has had trouble hitting the target with easy headers and can’t score with his feet either. He is slow, very slow. He often won’t move more than two feet to get a ball (his last goal where actually did something intelligent and cut across the front of a defender to take a pass is the very rare exception). And the embarrassing manner in which he throws himself to ground when men much smaller than him barely touch him has got to stop. Add to that the constant whining to the refs. Seriously, I can’t stand him and look forward to the day when he moves to another club. You can’t polish a turd.

    • brn442

      April 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

      I agree with the Gaffer on this one. The striker is not without blame but the main reason for the lack of goals is down to the pathetic service from out wide and through the middle – Downing and Adams have both been @#$%^ this season.

      Carroll – is no Torres, he cannot run at defenders or have the pace to peel off defenders and latch on to through passes, 30 yards from goal as the Spaniard did in his prime.

      At 35 million, Liverpool might as well keep him but:

      They should have NEVER sold Ngog

      They need TWO more strikers this summer – one world class, one proven utility or from the academy – the likes of Pacheco should be given a chance in the first team by now.

      The need two midfielders that can actually pass and link up the forwards: Aquilani and Cole are still Liverpool players – both have recaptured some form, they couldn’t be any worse than Adams and Downing. When Johnson is fit again – give him Downing’s role.

      It’s time to give Suarez a more disciplined role – the player sucks up too much space up front with his roaming, without the goals to justify it – it’s no coincidence that the Club’s form was better when the Uruguayan was suspended.

      Finally – Steve Clarke, brilliant, unfortunately – just on the defensive side of the pitch. Dalglish needs some offensive tactical help on the sidelines.

  8. CTRed

    April 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Ill be the 1st to admit that Andy has been a big disappointment this season, however, what Kenny did to him was a travesty. At best he just didnt care about his striker who has underperformed and has no confidence, at worst he just didnt realize what he did and one has to question what else is he not grasping during his time as manager. At this point im not sure which is worse.

  9. Giantandre

    April 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    It looks like Liverpool made one of the greatest transfer moves of all time getting what they got for Torres, and then immediately made one of the worst moves just moments later. Wacky

  10. Guy

    April 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    There were two transfers last year that did not make sense to me……at all. Carroll’s and Torres’s.

    Why do supposedly knowledgeable people keep making decisions that idiots like me can clearly see won’t work?

    Wait. I think I hear someone knocking on my door.

  11. Neil

    April 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    As a Newcastle supporter, I was amongst the majority of fans who were happy to see Andy fail in such shocking fashion. The truth is however I feel quite bad for him. Clearly something is severely wrong with his mentality, as he is as fit and capable as he ever was. At what point do sports psychologists get involved in an attempt to rescue Liverpool’s 35M pound investment?

    • CTRed

      April 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Neil – out of curiosity, why were you happy to see it? He didnt hand a transfer request, he didnt say anything bad about the club or the fans, and im pretty sure he didnt want to go.

      • dan

        April 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm

        I can’t speak for Neil, but Carroll knew Liverpool wanted him and would pay him a lot more than he was on, so he used that to try and get a bumper contract from Newcastle. The club said no, so he buggered off for the money. If he didn’t want to go, he wouldn’t have flown away in Mike Ashley’s helicopter. The club couldn’t say no to £35 million, but Andy could have said no to the money.

        I was disgusted because Andy Carroll was living the dream of just about every kid from Tyneside to the Tweed and he couldn’t leave for Liverpool fast enough, well I’m glad he got what he wanted, and I’m glad we got Ba and Cisse instead. Who says romanticism in football is dead?

      • Neil

        April 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm

        if I’m honest, It’s mostly a dislike for Kenny and Liverpool as a football club. I wish Andy the best of luck playing for whatever club he ends up at next season.

  12. joe m

    April 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Andy doesn’t play like Liverpool plays, and Liverpool will not adapt to his kind of play. And that’s assuming Liverpool is playing in top form, which they simply haven’t in a long time.

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